Need a quick overview of the book, watch this.
Ok, got all that? Cool. Now on to the review.
PAST THIS POINT THERE BE SPOILERS, AND POSSIBLY DRAGONS, SO DON'T GO CRYING TO ME ABOUT RUINING THE MOVIE OR GETTING CHAR-BROILED!!!
Everything the comic book did wrong, the movie did right. The book had Cap and Tony at each others' throats over a difference of opinion about government oversight on superheroes. That element is indeed at play in the movie, but there is so much more at play here.
This is a revenge story, and a really good one. All these little twists keep going to bring about the ultimate result of the movie. The fanboys who love the comic have been wanting to see Captain America and Ironman kick the ever-lovin' crap out of each other, and guess what, that's exactly what the main villain wants too.
Let that sink in for a moment, you people who wanted to see tension between these characters and wanted them to beat each other up.
Tons of manipulation, all these little moments that seem to be a bit pointless in the film, come together to form this nasty web that catches our heroes. And the great thing here is that it allows each of the characters to stay true to themselves and we don't have idiotic things like Cap acting like a zealot and Tony recruiting super villains after all the heroes realize he's being a douche.
In fact, Tony is the main target of the manipulation. I have to wonder if there's scenes that had to get cut revealing the mother of the slain college student was a plant working for Zemo and that the explosion early in the film was somehow rigged. That isn't crucial to the film, as it could just be our villain waiting for the perfect opportunity to spring his trap. He's a patient one.
So, we have an excellent plot that greatly improved the dreck that was the comic. On to the movie itself.
The performances were great top to bottom. There's been a lot of buzz about Spidey and Black Panther, and how great they were, and its warranted. Everyone had these wonderfully juicy moments, and it all meshed together so nicely. It's a very well balanced script, and while we have a dozen superheroes running around its clear that this is a Captain America film. That's hard because Robert Downey Jr. is always amazing as Tony Stark, but Chris Evans holds his own so well as the stanch moral rock of the movie.
Here's the hing about Captain America: he's right. He's the character that is when given all the possible choices is always going to make the one that's going to help as many people as possible. So, when asked if you're TeamCap or Teamfillintheblank, if your answer isn't TeamCap then you need to probably reconsider your position. And Evans absolutely nails it without coming off holier-than-thou.
My only problem with the movie is how some of the fight scenes were shot. I hate shakey camera work and I hate quick action cuts. That's how sloppy fight choreography gets covered up and it doesn't look like these scenes were sloppy fight choreography. Let me see the moves and not risk motion sickness, please!
There was plenty of funny bits to keep folks entertained, which is good. There's a lot of really heavy and dark stuff going on in this story. Marvel knows when to lighten the mood without coming off cheesy or cheapening the story. They're also a bit self aware, especially in regards to Marissa Tomei who many people have said is way too young and too hot to play Aunt May.
The trailers for this movie were really misleading on the lot of points. Lines were cherry picked to make it seem like Tony and Cap were really not liking each other at all. They left me wondering how two people who are indeed friends could have that much animosity over a difference of opinion on an issue that's pretty much just political. Once everything gets put in context with the movie it makes so much more sense. And for those who say, well there was that animosty there back in the first Avengers movie, you're refering to scenes in which all the characters were at each others throats due to the Mind Gem being in the room, so stop, you're embarrassing yourselves.
Bottom line: I went into this movie with a lot of apprehension, and am now releaved that that Marvel managed to make this story happen without it being the utter trainwreck that the comic was and having all of these heroes coming out of it with us as viewers still being able to see them as heroes. Did the villain win here? Some may think so, but the final scenes in the film let us know that when the time comes, the Avengers will assemble once more.